Tag Archives: Iraq

Mistrial Declared in Abu Ghraib Torture Suit Against US Contractor

“This will not be the final word; what happened in Abu Ghraib is engraved into our memories and will never be forgotten in history,” one plaintiff vowed.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 5-2-2024 by Common Dreams

U.S. Army Spc. Charles Graner tortures hooded and handcuffed prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad, Iraq. (Photo: U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command)

The federal judge presiding over a case filed by three Iraqis who were tortured by U.S. military contractors in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison two decades ago declared a mistrial Thursday after jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

After eight days of deliberation—a longer period than the trial itself—the eight civil jurors in Alexandria deadlocked over whether employees of CACI conspired with soldiers to torture detainees. The Virginia-based professional services and information technology firm was hired in 2003 during the George W. Bush administration to provide translators and interrogators in Iraq during the U.S.-led invasion and occupation, conspired with soldiers to torture detainees.

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Millions Set to March for Gaza Cease-Fire as Threat of Regional War Surges

“It will send a powerful message not just to the Israelis but to the Western powers who are backing them that the public say, ‘Not in our name.'”

By Jake Johnson. Published 1-12-2024 by Common Dreams

Rally For Palestine, Dunedin, NZ, Sat. 11-4-2023. Photo: Mark McGuire/CC

Millions of people are expected to take to the streets worldwide on Saturday to demand a permanent cease-fire in the Gaza Strip and denounce the U.S.-led bombing of Yemen, which pushed the Middle East even closer to a full-scale regional war.

Organizers said people in over 120 cities across 45 countries are planning to join the Gaza Global Day of Action, a mass demonstration that will begin days after South Africa presented evidence before the International Court of Justice that Israel is committing genocide in the Palestinian enclave.

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US Corporate Media Outlets Allow IDF to Vet ‘All Materials’ From Embedded Reporters in Gaza

“Israel is killing the journalists that expose their crimes, then bribing the journalists that cover for them,” said one critic.

By Brett Wilkins Published 11-6-2023 by Common Dreams

CNN’s Jeremy Diamond points toward Israeli military hardware in a field near Israel’s border with Gaza.
 (Photo: CNN screen grab)

U.S. corporate media outlets have granted Israeli military commanders pre-publication review rights for “all materials and footage” recorded by their correspondents embedded with the Israel Defense Forces during the invasion of Gaza, a precondition condemned by press freedom advocates.

“Journalists embedded with the IDF in Gaza operate under the observation of Israeli commanders in the field, and are not permitted to move unaccompanied within the Gaza Strip,” Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN‘s “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” explained in a segment on Sunday.

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Netanyahu is unlikely to listen to the West’s growing unease

The Israeli leader is emboldened by a hard-right coalition and frustrated with calls for humanitarian pause in Gaza

By Paul Rogers. Published 10-30-2023 by openDemocracy

Photo: UN Human Rights/X

Within a week of the 7 October atrocities, numerous Israeli Defence Force (IDF) units had converged on southern Israel close to Gaza. A major ground offensive was expected to start within days but the actual deployments into Gaza have not so far been substantial.

Possible factors in the delays included US president Joe Biden’s unexpected visit to Israel, negotiations with Hamas on hostage releases, and an announcement from the Pentagon that additional US air defence systems will be sent to the region. These are not specifically for Israel’s use but are primarily to offer additional protection to US personnel in bases in Iraq, Syria, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. Drone and rocket attacks against some US bases have increased in the past two weeks, especially in Iraq, and many more are expected when the IDF starts a ground assault.

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Hundreds of Thousands March in London Demanding ‘End to War on Gaza’

The large-scale demonstration in the U.K. occurred as paltry levels of humanitarian aide were finally allowed through the southern border of Gaza, but nowhere near enough given the scale of death and destruction.

By Jon Queally. Published 10-21-2023 by Common Dreams

People take part in a ‘March For Palestine,’ in London on October 21, 2023, to “demand an end to the war on Gaza.” Photo: Hope Worsdale/X

Organizers and participants said hundreds of thousands of people were in the streets of central London on Saturday to demand an immediate cease-fire in Gaza as the Israeli military continued its bombardment of the besieged enclave a full two weeks after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack.

Organized by a coalition that includes the Solidarity Campaign, Friends of Al-Aqsa, Stop the War Coalition, Muslim Association of Britain, Palestinian Forum in Britain, and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, the march also called for Israel to “end its occupation of Palestinian land and apartheid rule over the Palestinian people.”

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House Republican Floats Bill to Authorize US Military Action in Iran as Fears of Broader War Grow

“We are inching toward a regional war in the Middle East, further fueled by Biden’s refusal to call for a cease-fire and deescalation,” argued one analyst.

By Jake Johnson. Published 10-17-2023 by Common Dreams

Rep. Michael McCaul discusses China and Taiwan at World Economic Forum . Photo: World Economic Forum/flickr/CC

The Republican chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday said his panel is drafting legislation to authorize the use of military force in Iran amid growing fears that ongoing violence in Israel and Gaza could set off a broader regional conflagration.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) told CNN that his committee is preparing the bill “in the event it’s necessary” for the U.S. military to become directly involved in another Middle East war. McCaul’s comments came on the 21st anniversary of the enactment of a measure that authorized the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

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If this is Israel’s 9/11, we should remember what happened next

The US achieved nothing in the Middle East, but millions of civilians paid the price – the same will be true now

By Paul Rogers. Published 10-9-2023 by openDemocracy

Gaza Photo: @Yasssha00/X

After the devastating failure of the Israeli intelligence to foresee the sudden Hamas assault at the weekend, many Israelis are describing the huge loss of lives as ‘Israel’s 9/11’.

Although the two events cannot be fairly compared, given the attack on Israel came from a country it has occupied and inflicted a deadly and brutal regime of apartheid on for many decades, the assault by Hamas has had a similarly visceral impact.

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Military alliances like NATO won’t solve our greatest security threat

Things may look rosy for NATO today, but climate breakdown, not wars, are the biggest threat to global security

By Paul Rogers. Published 7-14-2023 by openDemocracy

Finland accession to NATO ceremony. Photo: Estonian Foreign Ministry/flickr/CC

NATO really is on a roll thanks to Vladimir Putin, but even as its immediate prospects look good, the whole future of the alliance should be open to question.

For now, as Finland and Sweden join, Putin finds an enlarged alliance ranged against him. NATO’s reputation is so bound up with the fate of Ukraine that, in the unlikely event that Russia makes substantial military gains in the conflict, Kyiv cannot be allowed to lose. From Putin’s perspective, his warning early last year of the threat posed to Russia from NATO has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. This does at least mean he can claim ‘I told you so’ – which is helping maintain some domestic support.

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Could Putin’s war crimes charges give ICC more authority over Western leaders?

Comparisons between destruction in Iraq and Ukraine could boost the International Criminal Court’s authority in the West

By Paul Rogers  Published 3-25-2023 by openDemocracy

Vladimir_Putin. Photo: Kremlin/CC

In the space of a week, three very different events have occurred that have done much to shape the future of the war in Ukraine. One is the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to bring war crimes charges against Vladimir Putin; the second is the three-day visit of China’s president Xi Jingping to Moscow; and the third is the 20th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War and the end of the Saddam Hussein regime. All three are set against a background of a bitter and devastating war in Ukraine that could well continue for many months or even years.

As to the war itself, Western states – and especially the United States – continue to provide a wide range of weapons and materiel, certainly enough to make it difficult to envisage a Russian victory. Yet the degree of Western support isn’t sufficient to allow Ukraine to force the Russian military out of eastern Ukraine, still less Crimea. While Ukrainian military forces are bearing the brunt of the war, they are simply not getting sufficient military supplies to put them in a winning position. The whole pace of the war continues to be dictated by Washington. Continue reading

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20 years on, George W. Bush’s promise of democracy in Iraq and Middle East falls short

An Iraqi person walks down a road blocked by burning tires in Basra in August 2002.
Hussein Faleh/AFP via Getty Images

 

Brian Urlacher, University of North Dakota

President George W. Bush and his administration put forward a variety of reasons to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

In the months before the U.S. invasion, Bush said the looming conflict was about eradicating terrorism and seizing weapons of mass destruction – but also because of a “freedom deficit” in the Middle East, a reference to the perceived lag in participatory government in the region.

Many of these arguments would emerge as poorly grounded, given later events. Continue reading

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